The question of when an official copyright registration actually occurs, in compliance with the Copyright Act, has resulted in different rulings in the federal courts, a circuit split, between the Tenth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Fifth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.The Fifth Circuit and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals have adopted the “application approach,” determining that copyright registration occurs when a copyright owner simply submits an application and required fee to the Copyright Office. In contrast, the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits have adopted the “registration approach,” determining that copyright registration occurs after a copyright owner submits an application and required fee to the Copyright Office, and in addition, the owner has received approval or denial of their application from the Copyright Register.
This case requires the Supreme Court to determine which approach is consistent with the text and intent of the Copyright Act. This decision will provide clarity and uniformity across the country for copyright cases.
Classroom Case Study
This classroom case study provides:
- background on the legal issues in the case;
- facts of the case;
- key legal definitions;
- overview of the federal courts of appeals; and
- focus questions for fostering classroom discussion
The classroom case study was modified from PREVIEW of United States Supreme Court Cases. It can be used for teacher reference and provides a more detailed look at the case.